An organization that helps homeowners with repairs and improvements touched more than 100 Oakland County families over the past year, including some in Farmington and Farmington Hills.
After a successful 2013, Rebuilding Together Oakland County (RTOC) is planning for 2014, seeking homeowner applications and donations to continue its work. President Gale Frazee said the nonprofit does 8-15 Farmington area projects every year, from yard clean-ups to remodeling that can take up to three days.
"The program is based on low income homeowners making application," Frazee said. "We work through the city offices to identify people and make sure they meet our guidelines."
Local residents are also among RTOC's 1,400 volunteers, many of whom work on a special Rebuild Day in April. But Frazee said three other programs now keep people working year 'round:
- Minor home repairs, which come up after the work day and usually take less than a half-day to complete
- Off-cycle projects, driven by groups that have organized volunteers and are looking for projects to tackle, including some in buildings owned by non-profits
- Home ramp projects, new this year and funded by an anonymous sponsor
RTOC also works with Oakland Schools and Lawrence Technical University to give students some "real world exposure" to augment their classroom lessons, Frazee said.
“This year we received more than $249,000 in donor support and services. We are very grateful and I’d like to extend a public thank you to all of our donors, sponsors and volunteers,” Frazee said. “We are very proud to have been able to make such a large impact in Oakland County this year and we wouldn’t have been able to help our neighbors as much as we did without their support.”
Eaton Corporation is one of RTOC’s sponsors who supported several Rebuild Day projects this year.
“We believe it is critical to support the communities where we live and work,” “We’ve been working with Rebuilding Together for a number of years,” said Scott Adams, Eaton's executive director of sales-North America. “We value the work RebuildingTogether does and we’re proud to contribute to projects that provide a positive impact in our community.”
Frazee said that RTOC at this time of year is cycling up for 2014 projects and encourages homeowners to apply for help "so we can work on the applications early to qualify them and see if they can fit with one of our programs."
RTOC is also bringing in funds for next year. Frazee noted that, in addition to being tax-deductible, donations add value to the community, through purchase of materials, hiring of professional services and the value of volunteer work.
"Right now, for every $1, we create $3 of value that goes back into the community," he said.
Rebuilding Together has provided more than $6 million in services and helped more than 800 homeowners since 1994. Learn how to get involved by visiting rebuildingtogether-oaklandcounty.org.